Code Bio launches with $75M to reinvent genetic medicine for rare and not-so-rare diseases

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and Type 1 diabetes couldn’t be more different: One is fairly rare and degenerative, while we hear about the other life-altering condition all the time. A new biotech venture is launching with $75 million to try to improve on treatment for both, and it’s taking a few Big Pharmas along for the ride.

Code Biotherapeutics has wrapped an upsized and oversubscribed series A financing thanks to Northpond Ventures, which led the round. Other investors include Amgen Ventures, UCB Ventures, Takeda Ventures, 4BIO Capital and CureDuchenne Ventures.

The nascent biotech now has the funds to get moving on two lead programs in DMD and Type 1 diabetes, with the goal of getting them into studies that can support later human testing. Code will also use the cash to expand its pipeline and platform applications, manufacturing and operations.

So how does Code expect to improve on treatment for these two difficult disorders? The biotech’s 3DNA platform can deliver various genetic medicines to multiple cell types in a tissue-targeted way that allows re-dosing, according to a Tuesday release. That means it could develop medicines that can be used for a broad range of genetic disorders. The goal is to use the platform to “unlock the potential of genetic medicines” and overcome known limitations of other delivery approaches used in this field of medicine.

“Code Bio’s targeted 3DNA delivery platform is positioned to extend the utility of genetic medicines beyond what’s currently possible with viral gene delivery in support of the development of transformative therapies,” said Diana Bernstein, Ph.D., vice president at Northpond, who will join Code’s board of directors in connection with the financing.

Investing in Code is in line with Northpond’s goal of supporting companies trying to address serious and life-threatening diseases, she added.

The company will be headquartered in Philadelphia and led by Brian McVeigh, who also serves as executive chairman for gene therapy biotech Redpin Therapeutics and is a venture partner with 4BIO Capital. He also previously served at GSK as vice president of worldwide business development transactions and investment management. There, he managed the U.K. pharma’s more than $500 million portfolio of equity investments in biotechs and venture capital funds.